106 MKs to Obama: Release Pollard


pollardBy Aryeh Savir, Tazpit News Agency

Israel’s Knesset held a special session this week marking Jonathan Pollard’s 29th year of incarceration in an American prison after being convicted of espionage  for Israel in 1987. The session was attended by a huge majority of house members from across the political spectrum, including Arab MK’s. Forty Knesset members presented their positions at the plenum during the lengthily discussion.

MK Nachman Shay (Labor) issued the concluding remarks in which he stated: “We have witnessed a rare coalition which calls for the release of Jonathan Pollard, including members of Knesset from the Arab parties. 106 MK’s have signed the letter to President Obama. This expresses the broad national consensus regarding his release. We will submit the letter to President Obama, the Congress and the American ambassador to Israel.”

The letter states that the entire Knesset stands behind the demand to end Pollard’s prolonged and proportion-less imprisonment, “The Knesset requests that Pollard be released on humanitarian basis and because of his severe medical condition… This gesture is imperative to Israel – US relations at this time. The Knesset states clearly – it’s time to release Jonathan Pollard.”

MK Yehiel Bar (Labor) explained: “The American people and President must understand, this is a painful and tragic issue for the state, the government and the Israeli nation, it is a deep wound in the nation’s heart… an injustice has been done to him and he must be released. Everyone understands that Pollard has paid his debt in an unproportional fashion, even according to American senior officials.”

Likud MK Yariv Levin added: “Maybe a shred if mercy can be found in a large ocean of hypocrisy. He (Pollard) is an elderly and ill individual paying a horrific price as a consequence of a game of interests, pride and power. It’s better late than never.”

This latest request by Israel’s Knesset is the last in a line of statements and petitions made by politicians and public figures in regard to pollard’s release. Former captive IDF soldier Gilad Schalit wrote in an open letter on yesterday that all Israelis should demand that the United States free Pollard. “After Israel has released terrorists with blood on their hands as a gesture to the Palestinians, a return gesture is all that is being requested,” Schalit said in his open letter, published on Ynet. “I believe, and I think that like myself, all of the People of Israel believe that the prime minister’s request for such a simple gesture, the release of Jonathan Pollard, is owed to us by right, and is not a favor.” In March, Schalit wrote a similar letter addressed to US President Barack Obama.

Public calls and support for Pollard’s release have come from many of those who were involved in his prosecution, including former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Shultz, former CIA Director James Woolsey, former Assistant Secretary of Defense Lawrence Korb, former National Security Advisor Robert MacFarlane, most recently Governor Bill Richardson, and William Webster, the head of the FBI at the time of Pollard’s arrest.

The White House said on Monday it had no intention of letting Pollard go free.

{Matzav.com Israel News Bureau}